July 29, 2011

Fail Photo 33: Couches are Confusing

as i often find myself saying...ugh.
why i consistently resort to using my phone as a camera when i later feel gross about the quality of the photo i don't know.
perhaps because you can't find 3-year-olds where you left them when you want to take their picture.

like this one.
that i took recently in our basement.
because i watched our sweet benjamin go through the painstaking process of setting up his little blue owl chair.
then getting his blanket.
and arranging himself in each repeatedly until he felt perfectly "cozy."

in front of what i would consider a much easier option. . .

July 28, 2011

peer pressure? not my kid.

just to clarify.
i don't actually believe that i have implemented some unique parenting method different than the next person's that will make my thoughts somehow more relevant than the boys' peers in the future.
just to be clear.

but, as much as i know that there is a reality to the influence of others on my little men, my eldest gave me a little glimpse of hope last week.
you see, anth's sports camp has theme days on fridays.
July 15 was Harry Potter Day, in celebration of the release of the last of the movies.
(ugh. still haven't seen it. which is sad. but at least i'm still looking forward to it?)

here is anth showing off the wand he made at Camp Recky.
nope, no feather inside.
also - the Crayola Washable Markers they used on his face?
easily wash off of cloth, not flesh.

anyway, in the spirit of all things Potter, the camp counselors brewed up a batch of butterbeer to serve to the kids.
they told the kids the ingredients, which according to anth, involved things such as "butter, honey, and beer."
anth, follower-of-all-rules, vehemently refused to drink the concoction.
becuase, yes, it had beer in it.
and beer is not for kids.
anth relayed this story back to us that evening. bern heard it first.
he sent anth to me, and anth began by saying that daddy said he could have two stickers tonight.

the boys have suddenly started to be a raging hot mess about eating their dinners.
now, they've always been. . . easily distracted.
but it's getting worse.
so we reverted to the logical option for parenting technique on this one.
low and behold, the kids will eat whatever we serve them to get one.
(kelly and i actually found a cute little set of Peanuts stickers that go along a little path.)
anyway, they typically get one sticker for each day they eat well.
it's going to take them a while to complete their little sticker path, so bern and i have yet to figure out what exactly the reward will be.
right now the boys are gunning for Captain America shields from Target.
if they will eat their veggies in order to get a seven dollar frisbee with a star and handle on it, i'm all for it.

back to the beer.
anth started it out his story by saying "one of my favorite counselors tried to sneak me beer today."
you can imagine my initial thoughts on this.
i asked for a bit more information.
anth explained that he articulated the fact that beer is not for kids to the camp counselor.
(my words. not his)
the camp counselor clearly tried to explain to him that it was, in fact, root beer he was being offered.
now, in the savvy home, the kids don't get soda.
so anth really wouldn't know that root beer is not equivalent to an adult beverage.
anth again explained that his parents don't let him drink beer.
according to anth, the counselor said he could just "sneak it" while he was at camp and it would be okay.
now, anth has a knack for adding some flair to stories, so this may not have been exactly what the counselor said.
i imagine he was trying to convince anth to live a little and enjoy the offering.
at least that's what i'm hoping.
anth stood his sweet little ground and refused to drink the forbidden substance.

i did ask him if the other kids drank the butter beer.
he said that, yes, pretty much all of them did.
(which makes me wonder what exactly he thought was going on around him if he believed his sports campers were all being given "adult beverages" by their counselors.)

now, bless his sweet heart, i appreciate that the rules we have taught him are portable.

but i am also a bit sad that the kid didn't get to have a glass of stinking butterbeer.
becuase it's really kind of cute that they did that for the kids.
but, i'm also quite proud of my little man.
i declared it a three sticker day. 

July 26, 2011

season closer part deux

and, we're back!
with anth.
at his last baseball game of the season/the first one mom took more than 2 pictures of...on her phone.

anth, not shockingly, always goes back to the bench and dutifully sits where he was told while waiting for his turn at bat. 
even while complete and utter mayhem is ensuing about him. 

ben, also to no one's surprise, dutifully runs over to pester anthony on the bench, as instructed not to by his mother. 

anth, as he was for most games, was three for three. 

why no head? 
glad you asked. 
that's because there is a pond/lake/fake form of water in the park where anth plays. 
it has a little fountain in the middle of it. 
benny finds it rather alluring. 
as such, he begged me to take him over to it. so we struck a deal. 
i would take him to the fountain if he would let me take a picture of him. 

i failed to clarify what kind of picture i wanted out of him. 
this was not the spirit of photo i had in mind. 
so i went for one sans face. 
perhaps now i best understand why Priscilla (of the amazing Priscilla Joy Photography) took the picture of all four of us in jeans. including only our jeans and feet. 

i really like this kid. 
total keeper. 

bern spent most of the season coaching third base. 
this involved less coaching and more dust monitoring. 
the kids love to kick up dust. 
bern's nickname was The DustBuster. 
actually, it wasn't. i totally just thought of that. but it should have been. 

neither of these boys looks very pleased. 
plus anth is rocking the pose of an 80-year-old-man with lower back pain. 

okay. this kid isn't mine. or even on my kid's team. 
but, he totally stopped to do this in the middle of the game. 

anth, being the world's most precious peanut, ran into third base for his final hit of the game and leaped up to daddy for a hug. 
bern gave him a quick squeeze and redirected him to third base. 

Coach Mike had all the players take a final lap around the field together at the end of the game. 
(aka, more dust.)

anth clearly loved it. 

ben was deeply moved by the whole experience. 

July 25, 2011

season closer

i admit it. 
i did a terrible job of documenting anth's first baseball season. 
this was for a handful of potential reasons. 
1. it rained. a lot. hence over half of the games were cancelled. 
2. ben. when i bring him, he doesn't so much want to sit and watch baseball.
3. i am an abject failure. 
4. some sort of combo of the above. 
either way, anth had three games tacked on to the end of his season to make up for the incessant weather earlier in the season. 
two of these were while i was in New Orleans. 
bless bernie. 
the third was, thankfully, on my first day back in town. 
i brought the camera. 
and ben. 
so, the following are the best i could do while wrangling a three year old...

even on the walk in, you can see he was in a cantankerous mood. 
yep. that's right. 
i said cantankerous. 
anth was clearly walking far ahead. 

my sweet boy at the top of warm-up. 

the usual drills.

these glasses do not belong to ben. 
or bern. 
or me, for that matter. 
they belong to the man sitting next to us. 

daddy snuck in a squeeze before heading off to coach third base. 
a quick walk to remind ben that he was here to watch anth's game. 

ben's response. 
he did this for approximately 15 minutes. 
well, not this exact position. 
but a serious of running in giant circles and shouting "plop" before landing back in this same pose. 
all class. 

here is where ben begged me to take a photo of anthony playing baseball. 
he insisted he could see anth through the eyepiece. 

you can easily see anth's reaction to benny running over to steal his water. 
you have to look a little harder to see the impish smile on benny's face. 

the actual game?
whatever do you mean?
that's tomorrow, friends. 

July 24, 2011

a new kind of date

a while back, i had to acknowledge that two pivitol things were happening for me on July 15th. 
both the final Harry Potter movie, and the new Winnie The Pooh movie were being released. 
now, i love harry potter. 
but i adore winnie the pooh. 
as in, i wrote my college admission essay to UC Irvine on the multiple identities/personalities i could see within myself in the cast of pooh. 
and when i was an RA, my building's theme was the 100 Acre Wood. 
there was a tigger wing, eeyore wing, etc. 
(there was high drama when some of my life-sized sketches of the characters were stolen. they were later found in the room of two strangers in another building. but those are bygones. clearly.)
suffice it to say, i think A.A. Milne is quite clever. 

bern took benny to his first movie, Cars 2, along with anth while i was in New Orleans. 
i just told him i needed to take the boys to see Pooh. 
(this probably sounded funny over the phone in the hotel lobby.)
thus, i have still not seen the final HP, but this afternoon, i took my two nuggets, and a giant bag of Twizzlers for the biggest boy in the house, to see the new movie. 

the movie was really quite short, but had some cute homages to the original films. 
on the way home, benny declared that i am Kanga, bern is Owl (haha), anth is Christopher Robin (rather accurate), and that he is, of course, Pooh. 
he is still debating who is the "backson," the scary character in the movie. 
and, though most of our "dates" now include company, i'll take it. 

and now, it is time to make dinner. 
you see, i'm feeling rather rumbly in my tumbly. 

July 22, 2011

Fail Photo 32: Macy's fail

generally, the "fail photos" that i post here are of the boys.
not that they are failures in general.
just at taking pictures.
more specifically, at being in pictures.
most specifically, at being in pictures that i want to show to other humans.
i have a shortage of pictures with their faces doing things like looking at the camera and, say, smiling.
in the end, i guess this is fine.
i will have plenty of fun photos to share with their future dates.

i fell out of the "fail photo friday" practice on the blog for a while.
i'm trying to reign myself back in.
it's the only "theme" day i have, so it really should be somewhat easy.
there is some level of humor in my failing at fail photos.

anyway, this week's photo is not of my children.
it was taken back in the winter at our local Macy's.
i simply had to take a picture.
i mean, this is some pretty brilliant product placement. . .
though perhaps not what they are trying to sell at Macy's.

Dear Macy's,

get it together.
this is NOT the conversation i wanted to be having with anth and ben while trying to run into the mall for new tennis shoes.
thanks in advance.


July 21, 2011

double date

if you've been following the adventures of anth and ben for some time now, you may recall Ziya and Myka.
ziya and anth have known each other since he was 9 months old. they were in the same daycare until they wandered off to different kindergartens. 
ben has been following one year behind myka in his classrooms and will be joining her pre-school room in August. 
the kids tend to love and fight with each other like siblings.
the girls are an equal match to our boys, except for the long curly hair and purple attire. 
ziya is the older, wise, rule-following and maternal one. 
myka = ben, except for the fact that, according to her parents, she knows the rules and learns how to get around them. 
ben knows the rules and just disregards them. 
perhaps he feels they are just suggested guidelines. 
anyway, in summary, myka was ben's first date.

tonight, we took it to the next step.
the kids went on a double date.
because they are not quite of a legal driving age, all their parental units went with them.
this was a supercool kind of date. 

originally, we were supposed to go to the Mellow Mushroom, a newish pizza place in the area.
but, the day before, Ziya suggested that Chick-fil-A would be a more suitable location.
anth was quick to agree.
you see, Chick-Fil-A has "the best chicken ever," according to anth.
and, there is always the possibility of getting a shake there.
if he's good.
which he usually is so the odds work in his favor.
personally, bern and i appreciate the play area that allows fidgety three-year-olds to get their sillies out. 

the kids got their own table right next to ours. 
everything started out well. 
except for that whole thing ben decided to do with his face in this photo.  

and then we had to take a brief clean-up break when he did this to his face next. 
what can i say? 
the savvy boys love them some ketchup. 

at this point, one of the staff came over and offered the kids balloons. 
benny called green, ziya yellow, and myka red. 
anth declined. 
yep, my 6-year-old opted out of a free balloon.
i leaned over to make sure he really didn't want one. 
"why, mom? it will just lose it's air, anyway. they're not that big of a deal."
check. duly noted. 
way to be logical, Captain Funpants. (pot. kettle. black. i know.)

the highlight of the evening for the kids was the indoor playground. 
of course, i'm the boring adult who made them all sit down to take a picture. 
while the kids were in the playroom, Ziya, eternal mother hen, declared that she would "take responsibility for Ben."
i could probably trust Ziya almost as much at most teenage babysitters, so this seemed like a good arrangement. 
myka soon came out of the playroom. 
she was troubled that ziya wasn't allowing her a turn to take responsibility for ben. 
bern made a deal with her that she could take responsibility for him when he starts in her preschool room. 
show him the ropes. 
they pinky swore on this so it is now official and she seemed okay with that resolution. 
back to the playroom.  

then Mike treated the kids to shakes. 
which, clearly, ben was really into. 
the parents paused for a moment to listen in on the kids' conversation. 
at that point, benny was holding up fingers and stating, "i was two. and then i was fwee."
clearly, they were in the middle of a deep conversation. 
Mike asked ben, "oh really? were you?"
anth, deadpan per usual, briefly turned to mike to offer, "yes. that's true."
(thanks for the clarification kiddo.)

it was a fun night out. 
the girls parents' are fun people. 
what i would call "good eggs." :) 
it was a great evening, and a wonderful reminder of how much we enjoy talking to people over four feet tall outside of work. 
the kids are already coordinating their calendars for the next big soiree. 

July 20, 2011

my portable storm watch system

i grew up in southern california and moved to the midwest for grad school. 
when we visit my family, bern gets a kick out of the "storm watch" sections on the news. 
aka, look out california, it's about the drizzle. a lot. 
they come with the requisite reminder that the first rain after a period of time will pull up the oils on the street. 
yes, in california, we have to be reminded that water on a hard surface can be, potentially, slippery when traveling in a large hunk of metal on wheels. 
these reports often include newscasters wearing stereotypical trenchcoats and standing under an umbrella in what i would now consider weather not worthy of bothering with such devices.
it's cute, really.

little did bern and i know we would grow to have our own personal storm watch system. 
his name is anthony.
and he operates on just about the same scale as the california system when weighing the disaster potential of any given storm. 
as in, if there is any notable level of humidity in the air, or, perhaps, a cloud in the sky, one of us gets asked if it's "gonna be a big storm." 

we then immediately get asked to go to the basement. 
and put on the news. 
recently, there was a series of severe thunderstorms that rolled through central ohio. 
they came with the usual little storm watch reports that pop in over regular TV programming. 
these immediately send the boys into a tizzy. 
if there is any form of weather map on the screen, the storm is legitimate in their eyes. 

i needed to give the boys a bath. 
anth insisted that i was "not making a very healthy decision" for him. 
i told him i had at least 15 minutes (knowing i had much more from looking at the map on the screen).
before i finished blinking the kid was standing in the tub waiting for me to fill it. 
during the course of our speedier-than-usual-but-not-really bath, i stopped to itch my eye. 
anth, with a look of sheer desperation/pleading, grabbed my arm and looked me in the eye. 
with the other hand flailing for emphasis, "mom! you are wasting important time!"
followed by, "i really have to pee! and if this house blows down, i have NO idea where to go!"

a house full of books, pictures, toys, food and clothes. . . 
the kid sees a giant port-a-potty. 

July 19, 2011

songs o' the French Quarter

maybe it would be more accurate to say songs o' the New Orleans Convention Center.
or songs o' the Hilton.
or songs o' our-wandering-adventures-about-the-streets-of-New-Orleans-in-a-constant-state-of-indecision-regarding-our-desired-destination.
but, i'll get back to that.

for now, let me say this.
if i didn't really love public education/education in general, i might seriously consider homeschooling the boys.
because currently, ben keeps requesting to listen to Firework in the car.
and he wants to listen to it on repeat.
no matter where we are driving or for how long.
i did not introduce my not-yet-preschooler to Katy Perry.
nor did i introduce anth to Justin Bieber. (or "beaver," according to benny.)
but anth could listen to Baby all day as well.
these are things they had to have picked up at school.
i still love artists like Counting Crows and Tracy Chapman, with a heavy mix of musical theatre.
which is basically what i listen to in the car.
so i know they didn't get the pop music from me.
and we don't really set up the boys with MTV or VH-1.
not that they actually play videos anymore, anyway.
so, unless bern secrectly has Bieber Fever, i am assuming these come from somewhere beyond bern and i.
hence the desire to homeschool.
until i remember that i also really kind of like adult contact at some point in my day.
and they would be failures at geography were that left to me.

so. back to new orleans.
i'm pretty sure that the folks who were with me on that trip would also like to keep me at home.
becuase i had the WEIRDEST songs stuck in my head.
on repeat.
(which, let me clarify, means they are also coming out of my head in an audible way...)
these songs included, but were not limited to, the following:

Forever Young - Rod Stewart  (we overheard this one while eating burgers. in a casino.)
On The Street Where You Live - from My Fair Lady (this came while we were wandering around aimlessly looking for a "classy" spot.)
Teach Me How To Dougie - Cali Swag District (this came from pleading Maria to do exactly this.)
I Wish - Skee-Lo (someone said "i wish" and i finished the sentence with "i was a baller." and it just kept going.)
and, of course, Lady - Kenny Rogers (um. . .)

i really don't remember how i got Lady in my head. but gosh it wouldn't get out.
if you ask Kelly, she will sing it for you.
according to her, i sounded kind of like Ron Burgandy.
which is rather unfortunate.
for everyone.
so, dear friends who were with me in NOLA, please accept my apologies.
for subjecting you to a range of musical ridiculousness.

i also bet that my friend across the hallway at work really apprecaited me listening to my Alice and Chains station on Pandora today for three straight hours.
so, sorry for that, too.

July 18, 2011

i'm too old for Bourbon Street

i've mentioned a few times that i was out at a conference in New Orleans last week.
overall, 'twas a lovely time.
but it reinforces a few things that i've always known about myself.
mainly that i am old and boring, need sleep, and that i can have fun just about anywhere. . . but i have more fun if bern and the boys are there.

on the first night, we attended the conference's opening reception.
it was delicious.
but, i was carrying my small, orange, Fossil bag.
and because the pralines were delicious, three different people decided we should smuggle some out with us.
(pending the severe praline shortage expected in the city any day now.) 
in my purse.
the pralines came in those little waxy, open-ended, bags that you typically get donuts and bagels in.
and, for some reason, they were squirrelly critters.
and ended up facing every which way in my bag.
i realized this the next day while a few friends and i were waiting to get into Deanie's for dinner.
not wanting to interrupt the dialogue, i slowly started handing them the contents of my purse.
wallet. phone. hand sanitizer, etc.
then i wandered over to the trash can to upend the crumbles of deliciousness that were left behind.
kelly, who is used to me, didn't skip a beat.
i'm pretty sure we threw off our friend Thyrone.
i had to clean pralines off of my phone. so, from that point on, i didn't carry my camera until the closing banquet.
thus the photos of NOLA that i now have are pretty scarce.
as in, i have 7 of them.
(well, actually i have 8. but i promised someone that i would not publicly share the picture i snapped of them wearing vegetables as bracelets because the restaurant gave us ginormous onions for our food.)

love the architecture of the city. so much.

here is my oft-mentioned friend kelly on our second night in town.
she's the one who moved to Wisconsin.
you know, "buttface."
yes. i seriously call her this. on special occasions.
like, whenever we talk.
we did the requisite, let's-see-what-Bourbon Street-is-about evening.
here are the hurricanes-in-fluer-de-lis-plastic-souvenir-cups that came with them.
yes, i brought mine home.
no, it hasn't come out of my suitcase. what on earth would i actually do with it?

there was a small contingent of us who decided that Bourbon Street was probably fine for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
but that we were, sadly, too old and boring for the madness.
we headed off to dinner at the Gumbo Shoppe, and then found the Swizzle Stick Bar in the Loews Hotel.
it kind of reminded me of the bar in The Shining.
sans the small creepy children on tricycles and slow decent into madness, etc.
then, like the supercoolperson that i am, i went back to the hotel to retire at 10pm.

here we are back on Bourbon Street on our last night in town.
really, we were just standing on Bourbon Street trying to figure out what exactly to do.
the answer?
hit up the Harrah's casino.
to gamble?
clearly not.
to go to the Fudruckers inside of it and enjoy the 80's soundtrack in the background.
seriously. our last big night in New Orleans involved us sitting in the fast food/Starbucks section of a casino, eating french fries with nacho cheese dip, rambling on about the various songs stuck in my head and having a rather genius misunderstanding involving "Super Jaime."
and i loved every minute of it.
okay. so this isn't from new orleans.
it's a sangria.
from a high end and very mom-and-pop establishment near our house called Applebees.
but i like the colors and where else would i ever use this photo?

but of all that new orleans had to offer in the culinary and beverage world. . . i had a clear cut favorite.
the beignets from the famous Cafe Du Monde were a treat. 
but the coffee? amazing.  
which only goes to prove that the coffee gods are either cruel or have a sick sense of humor.
a.) they make perfection and then localize it. which probably enhances the sense of   
b.) they do not make a line of it on Keurig so i could actually replicate it at home. 
c.) they take their coffee perfection and host it in a city with a 95% humidity level and a
         heat index of 105 degrees.
that's. just. mean.